NEW YORK -- A public memorial honoring Lou Reed, who died last month at age 71, was held at Lincoln Center Thursday afternoon, allowing fans to reflect on the musician's profound legacy.
"Lou Reed's songs stood for liberation, freedom of expression," said 55-year-old Jim Puzio. "When he sang a song, it was like you were right there with him, having a conversation in a living room. That's how intimate his material was for me."
Puzio was among at least 150 people who assembled for the memorial, held at the center's tree-shaded Barclays Capital Grove. Recordings of Reed's music, selected by his family and friends, played through amplified speakers nearby. Some attendees sat listening to the music. Others danced and chatted with friends, as classic Velvet Underground songs including "Heroin" and "Caroline" drifted above Lincoln Center. As planned, no performances or speeches were given.
Reed's wife, the performance artist Laurie Anderson, was among those present.
Since his death from liver disease on Oct. 27, many musicians and artists have cited Reed's songwriting as a pioneering force in rock music.
"No surprise I was a big fan, and his music, with and without the Velvets, was a big influence on myself and Talking Heads ..." David Byrne told Rolling Stone. "His work and that of the Velvets was a big reason I moved to NY and I don't think I'm alone there. We wanted to be in a city that nurtured and fed that kind of talent."
Linda Poignant was in the city visiting from Edmonton, Alberta, on Thursday, when she happened to read about the memorial in The New York Times during a brunch in Soho. Poignant and her husband made it a point to pay their respects uptown.
"I grew up with Lou Reed," 53-year-old Poignant said. "To have this tribute today is a really special moment. He truly was an icon and New York is honoring him right."